Since 1968, residents of Puente, California, have been satisfying their sweet cravings by driving right into a giant donut.
The Donut Hole is a special kind of drive through. Flanked by a fiberglass donut on each end, the tunnel houses a bakery window that serves up all kinds of delicious doughy discs, from glazed to chocolate frosted to coconut dusted. Originally part of a chain, the building is an example of the mimetic (also known as “programmatic” or, more simply, “novelty”) architecture style that was especially popular in Southern California from the 1920s through the 1960s. With the rise of the car, businesses were looking for new ways to capture the interest of the increasing number of drivers on the road. A simple sign wouldn’t do: In addition to giant rooftop sculptures, some architects designed buildings in the very shape of their products: tamale shops that looked like tamales, hot dog stands shaped like hot dogs, and so on.
While the rest of the Donut Hole franchises have since disappeared, the one on the corner of Amar Road and Elliot Avenue—the only one constructed into the tunnel of fried dough—is the sole survivor.
Know Before You Go
It is often very crowded so try to get there later in the day when it isn’t packed, so you can take in the full experience.